Paddy Power are offering a deal called ‘money back if he walks’- they will refund bets made on Pistorius’s guilt if he is acquitted. The relatively un-noticed dig at Pistorius’ missing lower legs is an interesting sign of how difficult it is for a celebrity to have more than one prominent feature at a time. Pistorius was once the legless sprinter, now’s he’s on trial for murdering his girlfriend, disability forgotten. Who remembers OJ’s 11,236 rushing yards?
The deal is this: Paddy Power are offering odds of 1/3 on Pistorius being found guilty of murder but the bet will be refunded if he is found not guilty, with a maximum bet of £20 per customer. The refund doesn’t affect bets made on his being found not guilty in the first place with current odds at two to one.
A bet of £20 on his guilt will pay out £26.67 (including the stake) if he is found guilty and £20 if he is acquitted, meaning that Paddy Power’s offer could be summarised as:
“give us your card details, email address and the lend of £20 for however long the trial lasts and we’ll give you £6.67 if he’s guilty.”
Why might they do that?
Firstly, obviously, publicity. Betting markets are not generally full of the kind of sensitive people who complain about matters of taste so almost no one calling for a boycott will actually be a customer. On the other hand Paddy Powers laddish brand credentials will be heightened by framing betting as something that feminists don’t like.
But there’s a financial gain in it too. Betting is a fungible service: you can gamble anywhere which is why brands invest so much in PR, the capitalist version of the narcissism of small differences. But customers aren’t fungible: new gamblers whose first introduction to betting is via Paddy Power will stick around and may even find that withdrawing that £20 from their account is a big hassle and bet that away on something else.
The length of the trial is a big factor too. There won’t be a payout till the end of it but the Ts and Cs state that any bets under the offer have to be made today. Interest will accumulate but more importantly what about people who will forget they ever made the bet and never collect their winnings?
If noting else, a maximum of £6.67, with pre-offer market odds around 50:50 so an expected cost of £3.34 to get card details and an email address is a reasonable return on ad spend.
This article was sourced here
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